Here at Envato we’re pretty famous for building a lot of successful blogs, like this one! We’ve done quite a few now, so last year I decided other people might find our techniques and systems useful. Today I’m really happy to announce my new book How to Build a Successful Blog Business which is a step by step guide to doing what we do, and it comes packed with case studies for our blogs including FreelanceSwitch!
The book covers everything from picking a niche to hiring staff, monetizing to building traffic. Like all my books it’s very practical, but I think the best part is the case studies because they include things like our income and expense graphs, detailed backstories about how our sites came to be, and much more. To give you a taste of what the book is like, I thought you might like to read a little part of the case study about FreelanceSwitch:
Extract from The FreelanceSwitch Case Study
… Our monetization plan for FreelanceSwitch’s early days can really be summed up as: try everything and see what works. We began with privately sold (via email) banner ads, tried other ad programs like Google Adsense and Adbrite text ads, tried affiliate programs, sold Text-Link-Ads (which these days will get you an SEO penalty), wrote a book and sold it, sold ads on our RSS feed, tried ads on the podcast, tried many variations of all the above and eventually created a subscription based job board.
Some strategies were relatively successful. Text-link-ads yielded a solid, dependable income stream for a long time, until eventually we removed them for fear that Google was penalizing us. The book did well and we spun that off as a book business called RockablePress (which is where you got this book). And of course banner ads have made up the staple of our revenue for most of the site’s life.
Some strategies were less successful and one was a downright disaster. Among the many affiliate programs we tried, one was for a template site called TemplateMonster. While they are a very successful service, it turned out that our audience hated the company. When we added a “templates” section to the site which was a library of 3rd party templates for sale, the reaction in our comments was extremely annoyed. Though it immediately started yielding revenue, we axed it days later. After all our site was about making freelancers happy, not peddling third party products that they mostly despised!
While banner ads remain to this day a great earner, they have always been by nature variable. We get a good return for the traffic we serve, but we’re dependent on a handful of advertisers who come and go and result in some great months of revenue and some not so great.
The Subscription Job Board Model
From the very beginning FreelanceSwitch was meant to have a job board. On launch day I created a placeholder page that just said “jobs coming soon!” Later we contracted a developer to build a completely free job board that had someone approving jobs (to prevent spam) and it flourished – though being free didn’t exactly have a great return on investment!
When it came time to monetize the job board, the standard model would be to charge advertisers for posting a job. This is how most job boards work and it’s great for full-time jobs because the advertiser is looking to pay a large salary over many years, so what’s a hundred dollars or so for a listing fee in comparison?
But for freelance jobs we found that many of the projects that were being outsourced were rather small in size. Imagine if you paid $100 to advertise a project that only paid out $250 to the freelancer! The economics for small jobs just don’t make sense. …
Extracted from How to Build a Successful Blog Business, by Collis Ta’eed
Read More Extracts
You can read more extracts from the other case studies over on Nettuts+, Psdtuts+ and Mac.AppStorm (the other sites covered in the case studies). You can also read a sample chapter by heading to our sales page for the book.
Get the Book!
You can learn more about the book, as well as find out what top100 bloggers like Darren Rowse from Problogger and Daniel Scocco from DailyBlogTips are saying about it over on the epic sales page that we’ve constructed! Get Blog Business!
Also: Envato Birthday Bundle 2010!
And while I’m here with news about my book, I thought I’d also mention that next month we’re running our annual Envato Birthday Bundle for 2010 and it’s going to be EVEN bigger than last year with over $400 of value selling for just $20! Find Out about Envato Birthday Bundle 2010.
Hello, I’m Collis and I work at Envato. You can find me on Twitter at Twitter.com/Collis